Saturday, July 22, 2006

My Social Experiment: Joining!

This is a duplicate of today's blogpost at

When I first showed up here at this "alternate universe" known as myspace 5 weeks ago I was very apprehensive. I hate the telephone and I hate IM even more, so how would I make out in a world where people could and would contact me often. Being a private person who has been on stage for most of his life, I started performing professionally at age 12, how would I react to previously anonymous strangers having instant access to me. Even though I've been interviewed hundreds of times, how would I react to "somebody who doesn't know me from a can of paint" asking me; "So, what kind of music do you like?" Even worse, how would I react when people say to me; "Tell me about yourself". Not to mention the fact that since I do have some "fans" in other time zones, how would I react to people wanting to have a meaningful 'chat' at inopportune moments. Since I am a good Island boy with impeccable social graces and manners, I knew that I would mostly be able to handle most of these awkward moments gracefully.

Still, my own personality strengths have already been challenged here at myspace. It is in trying to be a gracious person I have unwittingly exposed myself to the very rude underbelly of this mostly shallow myspace.
I have tried to connect to all of the people who have added their thumbnail photo to my little world here. Being a free-flowing spirit that I am, I have at times commented on people's pages. Now, there is my first big mistake!
By taking the seemingly innocuous step of extending myself a bit, I have left myself open to be ignored. This is where the ugly underbelly of myspace can be found, in people being impowered to feel the full extent of their self-importance. A person who ignores you has demoted you to a lesser life form, one who exists merely to give praise or offer weak comments.
Now, this person who ignores you can feel some sense of power at having hundreds of other strangers to similarly ignore.
This is the; "I'm busier than you”, "I'm more important than you" being acted out for an unlimited audience.
Funny, those of us in show business are taught early on to make time for 'fans' and well wishers because without them we cannot exist. For those who have never played in front of thousands of people or appeared in any media such as: radio, TV, etc. this must be exhilarating to feel important.
For me, it reminds me that, though I've been unusually not as busy as normal these past 5 weeks, I don't have excess time to waste writing people who have not mastered the art of their self-induced celebrity.
So, as the old adage goes: "Nothing ventured nothing lost". If I don't want to be exposed to just how rude humans can be then I should not be driven by my own good social skills to waste my time.
I am very thankful that a small audience of people at myspace has grown from 1 person to (last count) 833 odd people in a few weeks. I am not as thankful for finding out that some people don't even come here to listen to anything at all; they just drop off their photo so that they can have some other anonymous stranger to ignore. I had one girl send me a message: "So, what kind of music do you play?" She hadn't heard not one note!
Now, my Caribbean manners can easily give way to my New York ghetto self but I've got to "keep the devil down in the hole".
Sure, I wanted to say: "So, why the fuck did you come to my page?" but really I don't cuss though I have that lexicon at my disposal. Don't we all?
I have too many instances to recount already in such a short time. Being an Aries with a short attention span means that each time I feel underappreciated for my efforts I 'm reminded that I'm wasting my time.
So, as I am about to go on the road for the month of August I don't think I'll bring my laptop with me!
If I did bring my laptop I would be reminded that while Israel invades Lebanon, some great thinker here has posted another mindless survey.
If I bring my laptop with me I will be reminded that as the US tries to annex all of the Middle East oil and gas prices here in Cali are $3.75 per gallon, somebody is asking me to see how sexy they look in their bikini.
I've got to "keep the devil in the hole" and hold my tongue so I will not be bringing my laptop with me.
I am a musician; I love my art, my craft, and my work. I play music to share with others. If someone listens then my mission on the planet has been fulfilled and one day I shall rest in peace. Anyone who is reading this blog is probably somebody who I would never refer to as being shallow. It means that you are in some way a potential friend because you are like me; a person who talks to and listens to the postman and the clerk at the store and the waitress at the club when I play a gig.
I have talked to people in small villages who had no idea where in the world I came from but we bonded as humans. I have had conversations that were partly in 'sign language' because we only shared a smattering of words but spoke different languages. If you are like me then you already understand that ignoring any human being is a function of some ugly world.
When I was kid I was amazed at how island people would always greet everyone, perfect strangers! Sure, sometimes it was a shy nod and grunt of a "good day" but a human acknowledgement none the less.
I love the "third world" because this way of being human largely still exists there. The third world is crowded and busy but still people find it really hard to totally ignore one another.
Until the next road trip I endure the "first world", including this one.